Tag Archive | IDEO

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org and +Acumen

Late last year I felt I could use a little recap on some of the things learned on the very first courses of the Service Design Masters degree. At the same time I was longing for some fresh thoughts and a push to jump start my thesis – a way to get creative and actually do some design stuff instead of just planning it. The free Human-Centered Design course by IDEO.org and +Acumen, mixing online and in-person teamwork, seemed like a good way to do that.

Described as an “intensive, hands-on learning experience“, the course description promised the participants would “leave this experience equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process to challenges across industries, sectors, and geographies to generate breakthrough ideas.” Well, that sounds great, but would someone with quite some earlier knowledge and experience in Service Design and in general human-centered design projects get something out of it too, besides a repetition of things already known? I was also wondering how the theme and topics would feel, as the focus seemed largely to be in humanitarian and social welfare – a hugely important topic, however sadly not my forte previously.

Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation

IDEO mini challenge 1The course started in January and, thanks to all sorts of online groups and forums, it was fairly easy to find a team to do the meet-ups with. We ended up being 5 in our group, all previously unknown to each other. The course platform provided us with instructions on the different phases, “classes”, we were to go through to complete the course. The first meet-up went in a bit of a haze, getting to know each other while trying to follow the guidelines from the somewhat confusing set of material piles (for each “class” there being 2 separate packs of materials). Lucky we had a group leader of sorts in our group, making sure we had agreed on specific days for our future meetings so we could keep up with the course deadlines.

The course followed a set structure and timeline, with the design process following the steps Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. The second group meeting was missed by a couple of us, but the ones attending divided the research between us all and we all managed to do our parts before the following meeting. And on the third meeting we finally got to a classic – you guessed it – post-it party!

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Latest at this stage it was fairly clear the methods and principles of the course were very familiar to a Service Design student, but doing research and ideating was in any case tons of fun and not at all that easy. It was great to work together with a group of people not previously familiar with each other, building on each other’s ideas and hearing about new ways to look at the same things.

 

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In the following meeting we moved on to How Might We questions – this brought us another interesting conversation, as some in the group had somewhat unknowingly used a similar approach to problem-solving. After that it was time for creating a story board and moving on to prototyping.

The course finished with an energising afternoon over brunch, making a pitch for our solution, followed by reflection and discussion on our learning.

 

To summarise the experience, here’s a little list based purely on my personal thoughts:

+ Nice and easy way to recap a human-centric design process

+ Practical and structured guidelines and tasks

+ Basic background info and examples on methods and process

+ Great to work in a new team and learn from others!

– 2 separate material packs for each class didn’t feel like the best way to go

– No new methods or insights for someone already familiar with Service Design

– End result and experience would depend a lot on the team: in my case it was wonderful but it could have been totally different if e.g. there was someone really bossy or other characters that can make ideation etc. difficult.

All in all, I was very happy with my experience. And the team proved to be so good that some of us have already met at a couple of other Service Design events, and we plan to meet with the whole group again soon!

 

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

New School Techniques and the Innovation Magic Box

Day One in School

The roll call begins Itziar, Predrag, CagriMervi, HaanaIda and of course my name Titikshya a tongue twister in the list  … The day starts with so many new names, felt like it would take ages to remember all faces and names … but know what our Design thinking lecturers had in their Magic Box new methods and techniques in introducing each of us. What comes out the box is a little walk around like “Moving in Space” “Who are we” “Bingo: collecting signatures”. The outcome was smart way of introducing new faces. Not all but at-least few new faces were recognized. This was quite an innovative way of introducing a class and collecting signatures was so interactive that reflected a child in each of us eager to collect signature and says Bingo. I will be using these technique’s in many other instances in my life, it would work out well in birthday parties, get together and social events.

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Gijs van Wulfen’s book The innovation expedition – a visual toolkit to start innovation ends with 37 techniques and tools for managers, consultants and entrepreneurs to use in projects at the start of innovation. One of those 37 techniques is OPENERS: For the effectiveness of every workshop or brainstorming session it is important that the participants feel at ease. There are techniques with helpful activities that can be implemented for a smoother “getting acquainted” phase. These are: Photo Introduction, Key chain Introduction, Your Innovation, The Sequence Game, Mix it Up and The Trash Can.

Then the Magic show continues on the with a lecture on Design Thinking by Prof. Katja Tschimmel exercise pencil which again shows over versatility in thinking how far could our imagination led us stretch our thought on How do I use a pencil ? What came out this time is…. Use pencil for plant support, save someone’s life, curl support, and create designs and so on. Here we got to know how strange ideas pop up in our mind in the last minutes. This was again one of the 37 techniques mentioned in the book by Gijs: BRAINSTORMING GAMES: Brainstorming brings to mind something playful and fun to do. Quite interesting Games like Free the Genie Cards, The KnowBrainer, Thinpak, IDEO method cards.

The class continues What’s Innovation and Introduction FORTH Innovation Method and Introducing 10 Design Thinking Tools like mindmapping, visualizing and creating and presenting mood board and brain writing. This is what came out of my mind for my daughters 3rd birthday planning, a mind map mad after the class.

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